GCAC Presents: Columbus Arts Festival Returns to the Riverfront Next Weekend
The Columbus Arts Festival is just around the corner! June 6th, 7th, and 8th, hundreds of thousands of people are expected to convene at the Riverfront in the heart of downtown to enjoy artwork created by more than 280 artists from across North America, continuous entertainment, hands-on art activities and homegrown art from some of our most creative indie artist collectives. Plenty of delicious food will satisfy every appetite. Among the many food vendors, several community-favorite food trucks will be serving everything from hand-tossed pizza to Brazilian-style street food.
The Columbus Arts Festival is the largest free arts festival in the Midwest. The Greater Columbus Arts Council produces the Columbus Arts Festival and a key part of our mission is to encourage and foster the creative talent of our local artists. Be sure to seek out up-and-coming local artists participating in our Emerging Artist program. The program was designed for talented artists from Franklin and surrounding counties who are brand new to or have very little experience participating in outdoor festivals.
This year’s ABC6 Main Stage will feature live performances throughout each day by popular local and national acts including Columbus favorite, singer-songwriter and multi-instrumentalist, Happy Chichester. Headliners for the weekend are local bands on the rise nationally. The Phillip Fox Band, whose music ranges from straight-up country to rock with a blues influenced southern flare, will perform on Friday night at 9 p.m. Erica Blinn & The Handsome Machine, with a sound that has been described as “part Joan Jett, part Bonnie Raitt” will take the stage on Saturday evening at 9 p.m.
The Festival will also feature three additional performance stages including the FlyColumbus.com Community Stage, with multi-disciplinary performances; a stage featuring more than a dozen local dance troupes/companies; and the Word is Art stage, spotlighting some of Columbus’ most talented spoken word poets and authors. On the Saturday evening of the event the 10th annual Columbus Arts Festival Poetry Slam will be hosted by accomplished local poet Scott Woods.
The place to find homegrown art at the Festival will be the Big Local Art Tent. Experience art demonstrations in the See How It’s Made area and a gallery of works for sale by local artists, and make-and-take projects led by indie artist collectives like 400 West Rich, Art Party Columbus, Cap City Creatives, the Columbus Idea Foundry and more.
Abuzz with creative energy, the Hands On Art Activities area provides opportunities for all ages to roll up their sleeves and create masterpieces of their own. A dozen local arts and cultural organizations will offer a wide variety of creative activities for the whole family. And don’t forget to bring the kids to the Children’s Art Gallery! For kids 12 years old and under, the gallery features art work donated by participating artists for $5 or less.
Don’t miss the chance to meet everyone’s favorite Festival mascot, the Art Shark! He’ll be back again this year to mingle with fellow art fans! Kids of all ages can meet the Art Shark during special appearances onsite throughout the Festival weekend.
Following are some of the new programs taking place this year:
Art of Film
For the first time, the Art of Film will be featured at the Arts Festival! In partnership with the Columbus Film Council, Gateway Film Center and WOSU Public Media, some of the best of the Columbus International Film+Video Festival—the longest running independent film festival in North America—and work by local filmmakers and arts television programming will be showcased in a 50-seat theatre tent.
The Columbus Arts Festival will share the richness of design and its possibilities in partnership with Canstruction, a unique charity which hosts competitions, exhibitions and events showcasing colossal structures made entirely out of full cans of food. Local teams of designers will create the breathtaking lifesize structures that will be displayed onsite for the duration of the weekend. After the Festival all the food will be donated to the Mid-Ohio Foodbank.
Italian Street Painting
Piada Italian Street Food restaurant will present Italian Street Painting, a tradition dating back to 16th century Europe that lives on today as artists create street chalk masterpieces for the joy of making art and for the entertainment of appreciative crowds. Watch artists live as they transform the blank canvas of Washington Street near Rich Street Bridge into an enchanting patchwork of brilliant color!
Be sure to experience the Festival online! Sign up to volunteer, become a Friend of the Festival or purchase a VIP Package at ColumbusArtsFestival.org. Check out behind the scenes action on our Facebook page and get up-to-the-moment info and participate in our @tweetandgoseek scavenger hunt through our Twitter account, @ColsArtsFest.
The Festival Guidebook is now available online! Check it out now and start planning your Festival weekend!
The festival runs June 6, 7 & 8. Hours are Friday and Saturday, 11 a.m. – 10:30 p.m., and on Sunday from 11 a.m. – 5 p.m.
GCAC Presents is a bi-weekly column brought to you by the Greater Columbus Arts Council – supporting art and advancing culture in Columbus – in partnership with the Columbus Arts Marketing Association, a professional development and networking association of arts marketers. Each column will be written by a different local arts organization to give you an insiders look at the arts in Columbus.